Feeds

Hacker disrupts economy of annoying Twitter-based game

Spymaster gets Twoted

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

An annoying Twitter-based game has been exploited through a Robin Hood-style attack involving the transfer of imaginary funds.

Spymaster is the micro-blogging equivalent of the Zombies application popular on Facebook a year or so ago. Would-be Jason Bournes who sign onto the programme get points for recruiting users to their "spy ring" and completing missions involving the "assassination" of other players or establishing a "safe house", for example.

All this generates micro-blogging posts that some reckon is filling Twitter with useless junk (as if the micro-blogging service didn't have enough of this anyway).

Spymaster user @partridge designed a piece of code to set up an in-game Swiss bank account and transfer funds. The code unearthed a flaw in the game's software that meant he was able to duplicate his balance almost at will, at one point allowing him to amass £75.39 trillion in just 15 minutes.

@partridge used this new-found mega wealth to launch a Robin Hood-style wealth redistribution spree. This had the effect, of course, of making a nonsense of the in-game economy within Spymaster.

The game creators stepped in to restore order by resetting player accounts and wiping bank balances, as well as temporarily disabling some features.

Game creators have had to reset many player accounts and zero their bank balances and temporarily disable some game features. These actions had the effect of frustrating some players (who found themselves frozen out after innocently benefiting from "fraudulent transfers") into giving up on the game, Trend Micro security analyst Rik Ferguson reports.

Ferguson's write-up of the hack, which uncovered flaws in poorly-written code, can be found here. Software developers iList built Spymaster as a side project but takes the whole thing pretty seriously, as you can see from its reaction to the hack here

Prior to the attack some people were offering to sell in-game money to other players, Ferguson adds. Whether anybody took up this offer remains unclear. One real dollar bought 10 spymaster dollars, according to one ad. (The exchange rate to Linden dollars is sadly unrecorded.)

More money meant more abilities in the game but even so the gameplay was restricted to interactive texts or, to unwitting onlookers, spammy updates. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.